New Technology Improves Access to Key Patient Information

New technology is enabling out-of-hours doctors in Forth Valley to access patient information on the go.

Using secure iPads they can now read the medical notes of a certain group of patients whilst in their cars, which could help them decide whether to refer someone to hospital, or provide treatment in the home.

The abbreviated notes are available in what is known as a Key Information Summary (KIS) which contains information about individuals with long term conditions and palliative care issues. Details are uploaded onto the system by a GP with the patient’s consent.

Dr Duncan Lamont, one of NHS Forth Valley’s E-Health Clinical Leads, said: “This is all about providing person-centred care. Many people with long-term conditions prefer to stay at home rather than go into hospital. If they have talked to their GP about this and have given permission for us to access the Key Information Summary, we are more able to provide the care that best suits their wishes.”

Since July 2012, Forth Valley GPs visiting patients in the evenings and overnight have used iPads to receive referrals from NHS 24 and take clinical notes while in the patient’s home. This allows the doctor to send referral letters directly to the hospital when arranging admission. Previously, however, doctors had to wait until they had returned to one of the three Forth Valley GP out-of-hours centres – Stirling Larbert and Alloa – before they could access the KIS.

NHS Forth Valley remains the only GP out-of-hours service in Scotland using iPads, which enables GPs to send referral letters directly from the patient’s home to the hospital. The ability to include additional information from the patient’s KIS also improves the safety of handover from GP out-of-hours services to inpatient hospital care.